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Friday, August 16, 2013
Believe It Or Not: Carlos Torres

By Mark Simon

Carlos Torres
Carlos Torres has been more than solid as a Met. But do past struggles mean it's been an aberration?
This is the fourth piece in our series looking at Mets who have had recent runs of success. Our first three stories featured Juan Lagares, Ike Davis and Eric Young Jr. Today, we move to the mound and take a look at starter/reliever Carlos Torres.

Believe it ...
Torres has had two stretches in which he’s looked really good. He allowed three earned runs in the first 28 2/3 innings after his recall. And in his past 10 innings, he’s allowed just one run.

This is a carryover from the end of his time in Las Vegas, where he allowed three earned runs in his last 32 innings.

Torres has an excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio (33 to 7) and he’s allowed home runs at a respectable rate (four in 41 2/3 innings).

Torres’ offspeed stuff carried him through his strong start, a combo of a curve and slider (some may call the latter a cutter or a splitter). In his 17 relief appearances, those pitches have retired 59 hitters and yielded only 14 baserunners.

Torres also rates high in working out of jams. Opponents are 3-for-35 against him with runners on base in his relief appearances. He’s also inherited eight baserunners, none of whom have scored against him.

Or Not
Torres had never had an extended stretch of major league success prior to this season. In 44 previous appearances with the Rockies and White Sox, he had a 5.97 ERA, with a poor strikeout-to-walk rate (77 to 52).

His rates of both called strikes and “chases” (hitters swinging at pitches out of the strike zone), particularly with his secondary stuff, were considerably lower than they’ve been this season. So his track record of success is limited.

Torres’ off-speed stuff was vulnerable in the three games he started for the Mets, allowing 17 baserunners while netting 31 outs.

Torres has also been a little fortunate. Omar Quintanilla's leaping catch in extra innings saved a run and spared Torres a loss to the Dodgers a couple of days ago.

Opponents are 14-for-22 when hitting a line drive against Torres the reliever. Had a couple of those balls been hits (line drives are typically hits 70 to 75 percent of the time), Torres’ numbers might look a little different.

Scout’s Take
The scout we spoke to was impressed with what Torres had done this season, though he wasn’t positive that would carry over to long-term success.

“Carlos Torres is a very interesting guy. He’s a serviceable pitcher. He has good stuff, but not a lot of swing-and-miss stuff. He’s a strike thrower with a good feel for what he’s trying to do. He’s a good guy to help you when there’s a need or an injury. He’s not an eighth-inning guy, but maybe a middle reliever or spot starter, who could do both. He has a good mix of off-speed stuff, but he’s one of those guys, the more you use him, the more he gets overexposed.”